[tdwg-content] dwc: city to county

John R. WIECZOREK tuco at berkeley.edu
Thu Aug 13 21:30:03 CEST 2009

Hi Gregor and others,

I greatly appreciate the comments. It gives me the incentive to cover
geographical issues that others have not touched yet in this
discussion. Geographical division relationships are even more complex
than taxonomic name hierarchies, and the DwC terms do not accommodate
the full complexity that exists. Happily though, I don't think they
have to.

The terms we have at the moment are those found most commonly in
biodiversity databases and derive their names from an unfortunate
North American geopolitical bias.

There are really four major problems. First, the names of geopolitical
divisions (state, province, etc.) are quite diverse (see some
statistics from the GADM database at the end of this message) and
cannot be well represented by any term name based on only one of them.
Second, the same term may apply to more than one level of subdivision
(e.g., both "state" and "province" occur as first and second level
subdivisions of countries; "county" and "city" both occur as first,
second, and third level subdivisions).  Third, two geopolitical
subdivisions of countries are insufficient to capture the full
diversity of subdivision systems in existence. Some countries have
three, four, or even five subdivisions.  Fourth, the use of a
particular subdivision may be ignored in some contexts while not in
others - there may be parallel or historical systems in use, one
person's first-order subdivision may be another person's second order
subdivision, or extra subdivisions may exist for some administrative
areas. Germany's Regierungsbezirk is a perfect example of the latter -
it exists within some Bundesländer and not within others.

I think the proposed "city" term would be a victim of all of the same
issues that the stateProvince and county terms have.

How do we solve these problems satisfactorily?

Country and countryCode, I propose, can be left as is.

To be fair while solving the first and second problems, the terms used
in DwC to atomize geographic subdivisions should be generic.
The third and fourth problems suggest that atomic subdivisions within
countries cannot be given unambiguous definitions. If their
interpretation and content will vary, do they have utility?

I'd like to be a purist - to be complete, clear, and consistent. If I
was, I'd propose only the following geographic terms:

countryCode, Locality, verbatimLocality

and I would count on georeferences to tell me the rest of what I need
to know based on my own world view during the period of interest.
Locality in this case would contain everything the contributor would
have otherwise put in higherGeography, continent, waterBody,
islandGroup, island, country, stateProvince, and county.

But I'm not a purist, I actually like things that are useful right now
too. Some of the concepts above that the purist me would discard are
actually useful from experience. I would put them in the following
order of diminishing utility: stateProvince, county, higherGeography,
country, waterBody, continent, island, islandGroup. Of these, two are
extremely useful but have problematic names - "stateProvince" and
"county". Though these have long historical precedents for use under
these names, I am not averse to making them more generic (plenty of
other names in DwC have had to be changed so as not to offend someone)
- something like "countrySubdivision1" and "countrySubdivision2". I
will actually make these changes unless I hear cogent arguments to the
contrary, soon.

The remaining questions in my mind are, "Does there need to be a
'countrySubdivision3' term?" and "Why stop there? Why not include all
5 subdivision levels?"  These I will not add unless there is support
expressed for the idea by more than just me.

Mind you, none of the proposed solution will actually help Gregor to
figure out where to put his city values, nor will it assure him that
he can find all relevant records if he searches for a city value in a
particular term because there is no guarantee that everyone shares his
world view in their input data. Here again I argue that the only
reasonable chance of success is through a spatial query, requiring all
records to be georeferenced. Hey, at least there is a definitive
solution. ;-)

The rest of this message contains information about the content of the
GADM administrative areas database version 1.0, which informs the
discussion above.

Counts of geopolitical subdivision types within countries:
1:240 (in other words 240 names for administrative features such as
"state", "province", etc. at the first subdivision of countries)
2:215 (...215 names for administrative features such as "county" at
the second subdivision of countries)

Counts of geopolitical entities for each level:
0:248 (countries)
1:3366 ("states", "provinces", etc.)
2:39136 ("counties", etc.)

Names for geopolitical subdivisions from GADM version 1.0:
Aboriginal Council, Administrative Area, Administrative Committee,
Administrative County, Administrative Region, Administrative State,
Administrative Zone, Aftonomi Monastiki Politia, Aimag, Amphoe, Amt,
Anchal, AOk, Aprinki, Apskritis, Area, Arrondissement, Arrondissment,
Assembly, Astedader Akababi, Atoll, Automonous Region, Autonomous
Banner, Autonomous City, Autonomous Commune, Autonomous Community,
Autonomous County, Autonomous Island, Autonomous Monastic State,
Autonomous Okurg, Autonomous Prefecture, Autonomous Province,
Autonomous Region, Autonomous Republic, Autonomous Sector, Autonomous
Territory, Avtonomiuri Respublika, Avtonomnaya Oblast, Avtonomnyy
Okrug, aymag, Baladiyah, Banner, Barangay, Bashkia, Bayan, Bezirke,
Bibhag, Boma, Borough, Bundesland, Bundesländ, Canton, Canton
Municipality, Capital, Capital City, Capital District, Capital
Metropolitan City, Capital Region, Capital Territory, Castello, Census
Area, Census Division, Centrally Administered Area, Cercle, Changwat,
Chantun, Chartered Community, Chef-Lieu-Wilaya, Chiefdom, Chuan-shih,
Circle, Circuit, Cité, City, City and Borough, City and County, City
council, City Municipality, Ciudad Autónoma, Ciudades Autónomas, Clan,
Colline, Comarca, Comarca Indígena, Comisaría, Commissiary, Communauté
Urbaine, Commune, Commune and Prefecture, Commune and Préfecture,
Commune Autonome, Commune Rural, Commune Urbaine, Commune-Cotiere,
Community, Community Government Council, Comuna, Comunidad Autónoma,
Concelho, Conservancy, Constituency, Constituent Country,
Corregimiento, Corregimiento Departamento, Country, County, County
City, County Municipality, Daerah Istimewa, Daerah Khusus Ibukota,
Daerah-Daerah, Delegation, Departamento, Département, Department,
Dependencias Federales, Dependency, Development Region, Diamerismata,
Dìjíshì, Dìqu, Directly Governed City, District, District Council,
District Municipality, Distrik, Distrikkaya, Distrikt, Distrito,
Distrito Capital, Distrito Federal, Division, Do, Dzongkhag, Economic
Prefecture, Eilandgebieden, Ekonomisk region, Emirate, Entity, Estado,
Établissemnet Indien, Faritany Mizakatena, Faritra, Federal
Dependency, Federal District, Federal State, Fivondronana, Fokontany,
Fovaros, Fu, Fylke, Gemeente, Gemeinden, Gobolka, Gorod, Gorsovet,
Governarate, Governorate, Grad, Gu, Gun, Guyŏk, Gwangyeoksi, Hamlet,
Headquarter, Home Nation, Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Hot, Hsien, Huyện,
Il, Improvement District, Independent City, Independent Town, Indian
Government District, Indian Reserve, Indian Settlement, Indigenous
Territory, Intendancy, Intendencia, Inuite Land, Island, Island Area,
Island Council, Island Group, Island Municipality, Island Region,
Itumalo, Jilla, Judet, Kabupaten, Kaghak, K'alak'i, Kampeng Nakhon,
Kanton, Kata, Kata Ndogo, Kaupstadir, Kayaing, Ken, Khet, Khêt,
Khetphiset, Khoueng, Khum, Kilil, King Amphoe, Kingdom, Kommun,
Kommuneat, Kommuner, Kommunur, Kotamadya, Kraj, Kray, Kreisfreie
Städte, Krong, Kunta, Lääni, Laen, Lake, Lalawigan, län, Land, Länd,
Land Reserved, Landkreise, landskap, Landsvæði, Lansdele, League,
Local Authority, Local Government Area, Local Government District,
Localidad, Locality, Location, London Borough, London Borough (city),
London Borough (royal), Lungsod, Maakond, Maakunta, Machi, Magisterial
District, Marz, Maslikhat, Megye, Mehoz, Méng, Metropolis,
Metropolitan Borough (city), Metropolitan City, Metropolitan County,
Metropolitan District, Miesto Savivaldybe, Minor district, Mintaqah,
Mis'ka Rada, Misto, Mkoa, Moughataas, Muderiah, Muhafazah, Mukim,
Municipal, Municipal District, Municipalité, Municipalité De Canton,
Municipalité De Cantons Unis, Municipalité De Paroisse, Municipalité
Régionale de Comté, Municipality, Municipality / Mun. Council,
Municipality/Municipal Council, Municipio, Município, Municipio
Especial, Municipiu, Municpality, Munisipyo, Muong, Mura, Nahia,
National Capital Area, National District, National Park, National
Territory, Neighbourhood Democratic, Neutral City, New District,
Nisga'a Land, Nisga'a Village, Nomos, Non Organisé, Northern Hamlet,
Northern Village, Not Classified, Oblast, Oblast', Oblasy, Obshtina,
Okres, Okrug, Opcine, Opština, Opštine, Ostan, Outlying Island,
Parish, Parish Municipality, Parroquia, Parròquia, Part, Partido,
Phum, Po, Poblacion, Población, Powiat, Prefecture, Préfecture,
Prefecture City, Prefegitura, Principality, Probinsya, Propinsi,
Province, Provincia, Província, Provincie, Provinsie, Pyine, Qark, Qí,
Quận, Quarter, Qúndao, Raion, Raioni, rajoni, Rajono Savivaldybe,
Rayon, Reef, Regencies, Regency, Região, Regierungsbezirk, Regiões
autônoma, Region, Región, Région, Región Autónoma, Région Capitale,
Regional Council, Regional County Municipality, Regional District,
Regional District Electoral Area, Regional Municipality, Regione,
Republic, Repuplikasi, Reserve, Réserve Indienne, Resort Village,
Respublika, Ressort, Rreth, Rural City, Rural Commune, Rural
Community, Rural district, Rural Municipality, Sahar, Savivaldybe,
Sector, Sector Autónomo, Senatorial District, Settlement, Seutukunta,
Sha'biyah, Sha'biyat, Shahar, Shahrestan, Shěng, Shi, Shire, Shìxiáqū,
Si, Siyudad, Soum, Sous Colline, Sous-préfecture, Sous-régions,
Special Administrative Region, Special Area, Special City, Special
district, Special Municipality, Special Region, Special Ward,
Specialized Municipality, Srok, State, Statistical Region, Statisticna
Regije, Statutární město, Statutarstädte, Statutory City, Sub
district, Sub location, Sub Town, Sub-chief, Sub-county, Sub-district,
Subdivision of County Municipality, Subdivision of Unorganized,
Sub-prefecture, Sub-Province, Sub-region, Sum, Summer Village,
Sveitarfélög , sýsla, Syssel, Taarafa, Taluk, Tambon, Tarafa, Tèqū,
Terre Inuite, Terres Réservées, Territoire, Territorial Authority,
Territorial Unit, Territorio Nacional, Territory, Teslin Land,
Teukbyeolsi, Than Pho, Thana, Thanh Pho, Thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh,
Thi xa, Tỉnh, To, Town, Town Council, Townlet, Township, Township and
Royalty, Traditional Authority, Traditional County, T'ŭkbyŏl
Haengjeonggu, Uknown, Union Territor, Union Territory, Unitary
Authority, Unitary Authority (city), Unitary Authority (county),
Unitary Authority (wales, Unitary Authority (wales), Unitary District,
Unitary District (city), Unitate Teritorială Autonomă, Unitatea
Teritorială, United Cantons Municipality, United Counties, United
County, Unknown, Unorganized, Upazila, Urban, Urban Commune, Urban
district, Urban Prefecture, Velayat, Vikas Kshetra, Village, Village
Cri, Village Naskapi, Village Nordique, Ville, Viloiati Mukhtori,
Viloyat, Viloyati Avtonomii, Voblasts', Voivodeship, Ward, Water body,
Waterbody, Welayat, Wilaya, Wilayat, Willaya, Wiloyat, Województwo,
Woreda, Xiàn, Xiànjíshì, Xíngzhèng Wěiyuánhuì, Xīnqū, Yin, Zhíxiáshì,
Zila, Zìzhìqí, Zizhiqu, Zìzhìqu, Zìzhìxiàn, Zìzhìzhou, Zìzhìzhōu,
Zoba, Zone, Županija,

On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 8:33 AM, Gregor Hagedorn<g.m.hagedorn at gmail.com> wrote:
> At the moment I can only add small bits of geo-relevant comments to
> the dwc effort:
> --------
> 1. While studying the available terms for describing
> biodiversity-related images for MRTG, trying to reuse as many dwc
> terms as possible (unless higher priority standards already exists,
> such as dc or xmp, see
> http://www.keytonature.eu/wiki/MRTG_Schema_v0.7#Geography_Vocabulary),
> we note the conspicuous absence of
> ** city or place name **
> The term is available in iptc geo extension and is likely to be in the
> future routinely used on digital images. dwc has
> http://purl.org/dc/terms/Location
> Has Domain:
> Definition:     A spatial region or named place.
> and
> Identifier:     http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/locality
> Has Domain:     http://purl.org/dc/terms/Location
> Definition:     The specific description of the place. Less specific
> geographic information can be provided in other geographic terms
> (higherGeography, continent, country, stateProvince, county,
> waterBody, island, islandGroup). This term may contain information
> modified from the the original to correct perceived errors or
> standardize the description.
> Comment:        Example: "Bariloche, 25 km NNE via Ruta Nacional 40 (=Ruta
> 237)". For discussion see
> http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/wiki/Location
> However, the first is very wide, and does not give the information
> that the type of object is a place or city name (it could be
> circumscription names like a province), the second is free from text.
> In many densely populated areas, separating the city or village name
> for easier finding is recommended, because these terms do occur in
> gazetteers. Could this be added to DWC?
> --------
> 2. If clarity is more important than brevity, I would greatly prefer
> stateOrProvince over the current stateProvince, which literally is the
> province of a state, which more less exists in Germany as
> administration province of a state of the federal republic
> (Regierungsbezirk).
> --------
> 3. The definition of county (perhaps better more international as
> "County or Subprovince") is:
> Term Name: county
> Identifier:     http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/county
> Has Domain:     http://purl.org/dc/terms/Location
> Definition:     The full, unabbreviated name of the next smaller political
> region than StateProvince (county, shire, department, etc.) in which
> the Location occurs.
> Comment:        Examples: "Missoula", "Los Lagos", "Mataró". For discussion
> see http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/wiki/Location
> Here, wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County) suggests to
> interpret the German Kreis as equivalent to county; however, the
> literal definition above would require to map county to
> Regierungsbezirk.
> Many countries have a hierarchy of adminstrative political regions,
> and the highest may often not be the most relevant ones.
> I suggest to weaken the definition to a suggestions, perhaps:
> Definition:      The full, unabbreviated name of the most relevant
> political region between cities or villages and states or provinces
> (county, shire, department, etc.) in which the Location occurs.
> Gregor
> --
> ---------------------------------
> Dr. Gregor Hagedorn
> Heinrich-Seidel-Str. 2
> 12167 Berlin
> skype: g.hagedorn
> This message is sent on a personal basis and does not constitute an
> activity of the German Federal Government or its research
> institutions. Together with any attachments, this message is intended
> only for the person to whom it is addressed and may not be
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